Officer fatally shoots Australian woman

Vincent Carr
July 17, 2017

A woman was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer on Saturday after she called 911 to report a possible assault near her home just before midnight, authorities said.

The responding officers involved had their body cameras turned off and cameras in the police vehicle did not capture the incident.

"Sadly we now [mourn the life of] Justine, a white woman living in southwest Minneapolis-who simply notified the police about an assault she was concerned about", Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality said.

Australian media reported on Sunday that 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, was the woman killed in the officer-involved shooting over the weekend.

According to The Star Tribune, the "officer-involved shooting" occurred when the 40-year-old went to the driver's side door of the police vehicle responding to her 911 emergency call for help.

The shooting was called "tragic" by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who also held a news conference at City Hall on Sunday afternoon over the incident. She grew up in Sydney, attending the selective Manly High School before completing a degree in veterinary science at the University of Sydney, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to it was "providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian woman who died in a shooting in Minneapolis".

Plans to outfit Minneapolis police officers with body cameras were put into place following the fatal police shooting a year ago of Jamar Clark, which sparked weeks of protest in Minneapolis, and heightened concerns nationwide about police use of force.

'We have few facts at this point.

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The Minneapolis Police Department said the incident would be investigated. We'll update with more information as it becomes available.

Her website describes her as a spiritual healer with the ability to help clients access their "unlimited potential for personal transformation". I'm so done with all this violence.

The Hennepin county medical examiner told HuffPost that they could confirm the death of Ruszczyk, but could not release the cause of her death.

Ms Damond trained as a veterinarian in Sydney, and went on to study and practice yoga and meditation.

"I call on the BCA [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] to share as much information with all of us as quickly as they can".

Ms. Damond conducted meditation workshops at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, which posted a tribute to her on its Facebook page.

"Justine was all about love, just bringing your biggest heart forward, no matter what you're doing in life", said Drake.

Alison Monaghan, who trained Ms Damond in alternative therapies, described her as "the most attractive person" who was "all about giving to other people". "We can't even imagine LHSC with out her", they wrote in a statement on Facebook. "This is a tragedy-for the family, for a neighborhood I know well, and for our whole city", Hodges said.

Other reports by BadHub

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